Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Keys to Dry Skin Care

Dry skin isn’t the type of condition that just goes away on its own. It takes constant treatment and care to alleviate dry skin. Many people suffer from this skin condition and dealing with extreme temperatures and other environmental factors can be a nuisance. However, taking care of dry skin isn’t impossible. It merely requires a little know-how and some helpful tips.

In simple terms, dry skin is caused by lack of moisture. The skin contains a very protective and complex barrier made up of lipids (natural oils in the skin), sebum (oil) and natural moisturizing factors. This barrier is known as the hydro-lipid system. In addition to keeping the skin healthy by keeping necessary moisture levels intact, it also prevents bacteria, infection and other foreign substances from harming us. The problem with dry skin types is that this particular condition damages the hydro-lipid barrier. When this happens, a number of problems occur for the skin: increased moisture loss, dry and cracked skin, peeling, flaking and itchiness.

Dry skin can be inherited or affected by environmental factors, including extreme temperatures, air conditioning, heaters, and even contact dermatitis (coming into contact with substances that cause an allergic reaction - soaps, detergents, chemicals, etc).

Having dry skin is often troublesome because it requires training the skin to retain moisture and stay properly hydrated. The key is to rebuild the hydro-lipid system. Whether you suffer from acute or chronically dry skin, making certain changes in your lifestyle and in your skin care practices will better accommodate your delicate skin type and make life a lot easier for you.

Because dry skin can be aggravated easily, make it a point to read the labels of any product you buy in the store that your skin may come into contact with. This includes dishwashing soaps, laundry detergent, and perfume, to name a few. Many of the chemicals in these products can dry out your skin, which is the last thing you need if you already suffer from parched skin.

Hot water is a common factor that can cause dry skin. Only use lukewarm water and avoid taking long showers and baths. Being in the water for too long robs your skin of what little moisture it can hold onto. When it comes to your skin care products, only use the ones specially formulated for dry skin types.

Exfoliate dry, flaky skin but be gentle and don’t scrub too hard. Instead of rubbing your skin or face dry, use gentle pats and apply lotion while your skin is still damp, since this helps seal in moisture faster. Continue to drink water daily to provide your skin with proper hydration and try using a shielding lotion in place of regular lotion. Shielding lotions work with the skin to restore the hydro-lipid system and ensure that your skin receives the highest levels of moisture and hydration.

Use a humidifier to maintain an ideal environment where your skin won’t be dried out from too much air conditioning or heat.

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